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Rated PG
Copyright 1986 Cannon Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 27 December 2007

Capsule Review:    

A young boy watches an alien spaceship land behind his house, just over the rise of Copper Hill. He tells his dad about the ship and the old man wanders out back. When the father returns, he is acting strangely. Which reminds me, this movie is another reason I worry about having two sons. I am twice as likely to get into trouble. Granted, whatever mess they get me into will most likely involve a poisonous snake, falling off the roof, or a remote control helicopter - not something drilled into the base of my skull - but you never know.

Soon, other citizens are taken by whatever it is that is buried in the sand pit near Copper Hill. Anyone walking across the pit is sucked under the sand by a swirling whirlpool. They return with scabs on the back of their necks where mind control devices have been inserted and a kleptomaniac bent for anything copper (the invaders use it to generate energy).

The young lad convinces the school nurse to help him, and together they alert the nearby Marine base. Then the movie turns into a silly adventure with the Marines invading the underground tunnels and shooting Martians (that look like rotisserie cooked cornish game hen mutants). Among the Marines was a horrible casting mistake: James Karen as the Marine General, because he always sounds worried and whiney. Despite that, the Marines prevail. Just when you think the story finishes with a happy ending, the boy wakes up from his nightmare and it starts all over again.

Tobe Hooper's remake fails because it misses the point of the first. In the original, the protagonist was terrified of the power wielded by the adults, including those under the Martians' control. This time around, the main threat to the boy is a cartoony schoolteacher (Louise Fletcher). Heck, he even sneaks into the alien's spaceship, is seen, comes within easy reach of the Martian guards, and he still gets away.

Things I Learned From This Show:  

Green Dot The key to global domination is the telecommunications industry.
Green Dot NASA leases its launch facilities from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Green Dot The correct way to check someone's pulse is to place two fingers on the back of their neck.
Green Dot Inserting a small needle into the back of a person's neck requires a massive drilling machine.

Stuff To Watch For:  

Green Dot 15 mins - Is that a toy Argo on the floor? If it is, where can I get one?
Green Dot 62 mins - Somebody has been playing "Breakout" on the launch computers.
Green Dot 73 mins - What are you doing? Stop! Arrgggghhh! Hey, why are all of you still alive?

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Earth is visited by a GIANT ANTIMATTER SPACE BUZZARD! Gawk at the amazingly bad bird puppet, or chuckle over the silly dialog. This is one of the greatest b-movies ever made.

Lesson Learned:
  • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

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